Manufacturer to Produce Cell-Based Flu Vaccine for Next Season

APRIL 16, 2019
Gina Kokosky, Assistant Editor
Influenza protection company Seqirus has announced the filing of an annual strain update with the FDA. The update includes the company’s decision to manufacture their cell-based influenza vaccine (Flucelvax Quadrivalent) for the 2019/2020 flu season. The vaccine will use a cell-based candidate vaccine virus (CVV) for 4 influenza strains identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the upcoming flu season. 

Each flu season, the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) provides CVVs, with manufacturing seeds produced from CVVs used to copy the virus in eggs or cells. These copies allow drug manufacturers to mass produce flu vaccines equivalent to the strains determined by the WHO, according to the statement. 

A recent study compared egg-based CVVs to cell-based CVVs in order to evaluate which vaccine produces the closest match to the seasonal viral strain of the past 12 seasons. The study found cell-based H3N2 CVVs were more similar to the circulating strain than egg-based H3N2 CVVs. 

While egg-based CVVs have paved the way to flu vaccination, manufacturers at Seqirus highlight the need for other vaccine development strategies.  

“Egg-based vaccines are the standard of care and continue to play a role in the fight against influenza. While we continue to manufacture and distribute egg-based vaccines globally, cell-based influenza vaccines represent a significant advancement in influenza protection,” said Gordon Naylor, President of Seqirus. 

“Seqirus is proud to continue to innovate this promising technology as a part of our leading role on the front line of influenza prevention and pandemic preparedness,” he said. 

After taking steps to integrate cell-based CVVs over the past 2 seasons, Seqirus’ entire production process for the 2019/2020 flu season will be exclusively cell-based, according to the statement.

The drug manufacturer has been working with cell-based CVVs since the FDA granted its approval to use them in the production of influenza vaccines, in 2016. Seqirus incorporated a cell-based H3N2 CVV in their 2017/2018 flu season production, and cell-based CVVs for both B strains in the 2018/2019 season. For the upcoming 2019/2020 flu season, the company is including a cell-based CVV for the A strain of influenza, making their products entirely cell-based. 

Officials at Seqirus believe cell-based technology will enhance the company’s ability to promote public health. 

“Major advances in influenza prevention require significant global collaboration between industry and public health agencies. We thank many partners involved in advancing promising technologies and remain committed to our shared goal of reducing the number of lives lost to influenza each season,” said Naylor. 


Reference

Seqirus Announces Further Advances in Cell-Based Influenza Vaccine Technology [news release]. Summit, NJ; April 15, 2019: Seqirus. https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/seqirus-announces-further-advances-in-cell-based-influenza-vaccine-technology-300831979.html. Accessed April 15, 2019.
 

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